Casalgrande Padana tiles prove a hit at Vanke Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015
Casalgrande Padana delivers another successful porcelain stoneware project, teaming up with Daniel Libeskind to cover the Vanke Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 with the brand's special Fractile tiles.
Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life is the theme of Expo Milano 2015, whose main aim is to provide a tangible response to one of the most urgent matters facing humanity: the need to guarantee healthy food and fair nutrition for all, ensuring respect for nature and the delicate balance of our eco-systems.
The Vanke Pavilion
The Vanke Pavilion occupies a prime spot within the Expo 2015 complex, located near the Lake Arena and Palazzo Italia. The Pavilion has an imposing, expressive presence which is further heightened by its spectacular covering of porcelain stoneware tiles, with their shimmering glossy red colour, and by its unusual architectural structure.
Daniel Libeskind has created a spectacular, organic structure encompassing a covered area of 578 m2, with dimensions of 36 metres in length, 19 metres in height and 12 metres in width. There are three levels inside, for a total of 1,000 m2 of accessible space, in addition to a green terrace at the top of the structure, with panoramic views over the entire Expo complex.
Inside, the pavilion offers a large space featuring a three-dimensional bamboo structure which sets out the exhibition route, while 300 LCD screens provide information and suggestions regarding some of the key moments of the average day of a Chinese citizen, including their habits and convivial traditions. It’s a narrative experience that brings the focus back onto the core theme of Expo 2015 - Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life - through a fresh take on a traditional shitang: a Chinese community dining room, where the customs and rituals associated with food come alive.
Casalgrande Padana supplied over 4,200 60x60 cm porcelain stoneware tiles from its Fractile collection for the project. The tiles feature a sophisticated glossy red colour with a metallic finish, with the colour formulated and perfected specially for the project in the Casalgrande Padana workshops. The tiles used for the covering also offer anti-pollution and self-cleaning properties. They are produced using the innovative Bios Self-Cleaning® technology, which reduce pollution in the air and decompose the dirt left on the surface of the tiles when they come into contact with sunlight. Rainwater then removes these deposits, thanks to the water-repellent nature of the ceramic surface.
Building the Vanke Pavilion
The construction process included the installation of reinforced cement foundations, while the various individual components were pre-fabricated off-site and then assembled to spectacular effect using cranes. In total, around 140 tonnes of steel were used. Special calendered portals and beams were bolted together to create a complex geometrical structure, with the structural design overseen by Ramboll UK Ltd.
Once the structure was complete and the steel bracing struts installed, the next phase was the assembly of the horizontal components in corrugated sheet metal with casting in reinforced concrete. At this point, work on the covering could begin. A secondary calendared frame was created using 3D modelling and installed on top of the portals. A laminated material composed of materials with specially chosen attributes in terms of acoustic and thermal performance (panels in mineralised wood fibre and graphite polystyrene tiles) was produced and installed, followed by a layer of special plaster over a reinforcement mesh, guaranteeing resistance to air and water. The final layer was the finishing coating.
A series of solid steel square beams anchored to the primary and secondary structures pass through the crown of the pavilion, providing a structure onto which the calendered tubing (again made from solid steel) could be welded, with the latter wrapping round the architectural space in parallel lines. The tubing was also used to anchor metal slabs which were produced on site and then connected to the rear of the 60x60 cm porcelain stoneware tiles from the Fractile collection. The metal slabs were made to be more lightweight and fitted with an adjustment and orientation system which could be configured during the installation process.
This project is the result of an extensive research and development process, where the integrated design and planning phase included input from the Casalgrande Padana Engineering Division, the Libeskind Studio and - last but not least - Bodino Engineering, who oversaw the works. The project opens up new frontiers of design and technology in the field of architectural covering solutions.
Expo 2015 - Vanke